Top 5 Beaches in South East Asia

The beaches of South East Asia are great places to unwind and relax as you enjoy the tropical sunshine and perhaps even sip on some coconut water! But which areas in the region have the finest beaches of them all? Here I list the top 5 locations to find that all elusive beach of paradise:

Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island)
Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island)

5. Kep in Cambodia is known as a beach and seafood paradise. Prices there are cheap, and although it lacks any luxury accommodations, it still has a wide variety of quality restaurants and bars that will keep you busy in between riding the waves and topping up your tan!

Pantai Datai
Pantai Datai

4. Langkawi on Malaysia’s Andaman coast is surely a tropical paradise. Much more secluded than nearby Penang, Langkawi offers everything you could want from a developing tourist infrastructure, including sensational beaches like at Datai Bay.

Ngapali Beach (Photo: John Everingham)
Ngapali Beach (Photo: John Everingham)

3. Deep in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, is Ngapali Beach – one of the most hidden away tropical beaches in the region! Complete with swaying palms and calm waters, Ngapali Beach is only now becoming known to the outside world after years of seclusion.

Dai Lanh Beach
Dai Lanh Beach

2. Nha Trang in south-central Vietnam is the site of the country’s best beaches, and some of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches in the entire region. Unaffected by tsunamis, the central Vietnamese coastline is blessed with white sand and calm tropical waters, and nowadays many luxury hotels have opened up trying to get a piece of the action!

Ao Nang Beach, Krabi
Ao Nang Beach, Krabi

1. Truly the most amazing beaches from all of South East Asia come from Krabi, situated on Thailand’s southern Andaman coastline. The sight of clear azure waters and soft white sand feels like a true paradise to many and with limestone karst rock formations in the distance and lush jungle behind you, many of the beaches in Krabi have a sense of isolation from the rest of the world! These beaches, such as at Ao Nang, can get very busy during the high season, but the next unexplored corner of the beach is only around the corner for those brave enough to look for it!

Honourable mentions must go to Pink Beach in Flores, White Beach in Boracay, and Hikkaduwa Beach in Sri Lanka!

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18 thoughts on “Top 5 Beaches in South East Asia

  1. ah, it’s a wonderfully endless discussion, but I’ll just throw in a few for my own amusement:

    Otres Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia or Koh Rong, off sihanoukville, Cambodia.

    (Sure, Kep is a great place to visit, but I never ‘fell in love’ with the beach there).

    Chaloklum, or Bottle Beach, or Hing Kong, all in Koh Phangan, Thailand. (my home for 9 months). Even possibly Haad Baan Tai, Koh Phangan.

    Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. – great biodiversity…,

    Gili Islands, Indonesia.

    Pulisan Beach, Sulawesi, Indonesia – this is nearly IT.

    Pasir Panjang, Kei Islands, Maluku, Indonesia – this is IT !

    much discussion and debate to be had here, whilst I love the life & culture in Thailand, Indonesia has the sea & sand advantage…,

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    1. Well you certainly have more knowledge on beaches than me! 😉 My picks were very mainstream, but they are really the only major beaches I have been to. I’ve seen Pangandaran and Parangtritis in Indo, but other than that only mainstream beaches. I am going to look at Pasir Panjang now, you have stoked my curiosity there! 😛

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  2. That beach in Myanmar looks amazing! I want to go there so badly! I still can’t figure out which Southeast Asian beach takes the top spot on my list — Boracay or Railay. Lee, you definitely have to go to Boracay!! Ugh, the Gilis are amazing too. It’s too tough to decide!

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    1. Railay Beach is certainly a great beach – very touristy though. Boracay is near the top of my Bucket List now, and with direct flights from Singapore now to Kalibo, it is quite easy for me to do it! 🙂

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  3. Boracay! Although I heard from friends that Coron, in Palawan, also rivals Boracay among the best beaches in the Philippines 🙂

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  4. You should visit the Philippines, tons of great beaches here from the popular Boracay to several remote islands in Palawan like El Nido and Coron.

    There’s also Caramoan where several Survivor franchises are shot, Bohol, Malapascua and Camotes in Cebu. I could go on and on 🙂

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  5. Hi Lee. I am from the Philippines but Boracay is hardly on top of my list. Or maybe because partying and getting wasted over booze is not really my thing. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, Boracay’s beaches are really beautiful and postcard worthy. I just hate how it gets (over)crowded and so commercialized. In case you plan to visit the Philippines anytime soon, you might want to check these ones: Caramoan, Camarines Sur
    Coron, Palawan
    Malapascua, Cebu (home of thresher sharks and stingrays)
    Oslob, Cebu (for whaleshark swimming)
    Calaguas Island
    Pandan Island / Apo Reef
    …and the list goes on. 🙂

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    1. Thanks for visiting! That is great information you just posted. Interesting that people from Philippines probably don’t rate Boracay as highly as we tourists do. Anyway, I have heard of Cebu and Palawan, I plan to visit there some day. I guess Philippines has amazing beaches everywhere! 🙂

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